Kisaans. The beautiful country where my roots originate and my culture is bestowed from is
India. Where our culture is shown through simple festivities, in the joy we find in the beauty of nature, family and most importantly, the love shared between every Indian. Where we celebrate the growth of crops and outcome of a great harvest. Kisaans share this culture with the rest of the world. Kisaan is the punjabi word for farmers. Unfortunately, the Indian government has prevented this culture from expanding. In September of 2020, the Indian government decided to pass 3 agricultural reform bills. Bills that were created to “lead change” in agricultural laws and practices. During the process of legalization, unfortunately Kissans were never consulted during the formation and passing of these bills. Had they been consulted, they would not have agreed to these laws as it completely crushes their source of income. Kisaans are claiming that the bills that have been passed threaten their source of income, how much they make and their practices in general. Something that easily gets overlooked is that Kisaans are small-time and the source of income they sometimes do receive is very minimal comparatively to the big chains they work with. The Indian government continues to claim that the bills are supposed to help farmers increase their income. However in my opinion, I think it’s the complete opposite as the laws seemingly do indeed give more benefits to the big chains (those who already receive a hefty income). Prior to the formation of these bills, Kisaans would conduct their trade in places called Mandis. A Mandi is a farmers market place where Kisaans can sell their goods to consumers. If someone bought something out of these madis, the state government would then receive taxes. The new laws prohibit this, meaning traders will not have to pay taxes outside of the mandis, which then would lead people into buying from larger industries, those who already benefit from the new laws. This is wrong in my opinion. Favouring big agricultural companies who already make big profits in this industry is terrible because Kisaans are already categorized in a very small margin. Kisaans are forced into a very secluded category from where they can trade, sell and buy. Because of the favoritism, these farmers will face more losses and will have to endure more debt. The second bill allows farmers to sell to larger buyers. However, the downside of this bill is that it has not been stated what the MSP, minimum support price, would be (MSP= a price guaranteed by the Indian Government) and would allow larger corporations to take advantage of this. Guaranteed prices were beneficial for Kisaans because if there was ever a drought or crop failure, the guaranteed prices would help support them during those difficult times. Millions of people’s livelihoods are working in mandis, and after these bills pass, those jobs will be gone. This is really upsetting to see. Not only does this affect Kisaans in general but millions of people whose livelihoods are in the same regard of this profession such as people who are workers in mandis or people who are hired to help Kisaans in their farm work. One of India’s most popular industries is agriculture as agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of India’s population. I do not want to see my country face so many problems because of these bills. In my opinion, I believe that these bills might destroy the country. The practices that Kisaans do are very sacred and deeply rooted in my culture. I am afraid that some of the teachings Kisaans have passed on may get wiped out. Some of the big lessons and morals we learn as children come from the very examples that Kisaans have shown. For example: feeding the poor. Kisaans, despite being involved in massive protests and struggling to feed themselves as a result of it, continue to feed those who are less fortunate.
Another important moral Kisaans continue to show the world is how we were taught to respect our mother earth by doing our duty by keeping it clean. It has been reported from multiple news outlets that the Streets of Delhi have never been so clean before (the streets that Kisaans are protesting on). I believe that the Kisaans should be treated better by the Indian Government. They bring so much pride, culture and tradition to the country. I hope that with the protests, the Indian government will listen to the Kisaans and see their point of view and how these bills do affect them. I hope the Kisaans voices get heard!